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to the shores of tripoli, let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, war on gadhafi, what western nations say they want to see. moammar gadhafi's government announced an immediate cease fire. there's no indication yet that the so-called cease fire is
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anything more than a delaying tactic designed to keep the west out while his forces wipe out rebels. the rebels were cheering and firing celebration shots in the air hearing the u.n. is coming. we'll get a report from richard engel heading into the area. plus, what country is going to take charge? what role will the u.s. play? and did the u.n. vote dom lay to stop gadhafi? will he accept some kind of deal? we'll try to answer those questions. also, japanese authorities have raised the assessment of the disaster to a five, three mile island level on a seven-point scale and now admit they're overwhelmed employing a throw it against the wall and see what sticks approach. the head of the u.s. nuclear regulatory commission says it could take weeks to get things under control. score one for the unions in wisconsin. a judge has temporarily blocked
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that new law blocking collective bargaining rights in that state. democrats hope this is the first of many obstacles to that law they hate. we'll check it out. let me finish with libya. do we have any idea how we'll get out. we start with the growing crisis in libya. richard engel joins us from cairo. give us a sense of what's happening as the u.n. begins to take action. what is the condition of the rebel force, entirely benghazi? >> reporter: the rebel force is very weak in benghazi and across the country. what happened was the rebels advanced very quickly, took benghazi almost by surprise and then as they were riding this wave of enthusiasm, they decided to leave their strong hold benghazi. they went out to places like ajdabiya, they entered the open desert and overextended their supply lines. they got chopped back by forces. they have now once again
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consolidated in benghazi and hoping with air cover with this no-fly zone that they can regain momentum and topple gadhafi's gualooem why were they shooting shots of celebration in the air when they heard of the u.n. vote? >> reporter: well, they think that this u.n. vote levels the playing field right now, that gadhafi's forces won't be able to carry out a massacre. they were people any benghazi, and there have been every night terriified that tonight is going to be the night that there will be some sort of chemical attack, that there will be a massive artillery attack, an air raid and that the international community would simply sit back and watch and tolerate it. now the international community including the united states and europe are saying it is not acceptable and that if there is a massacre like that that, that there would be an immediate military response.
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>> what does it mean to say the united states has unique capabilities, this is what the president said. i think this is something to try to figure out right now. here he is, the president. >> we will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our european allies and air partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone. >> that's the question. unique cape be thes sounds like we've got the air power. is that what he means? >> reporter: it's not just air power. the u.s., what does the u.s. have uniquely. it's not our charm and ability to make apple pie. there are some unique capacities that the u.s. has. intelligence, satellites, it has aircraft carriers which would be very important for any kind of no-fly zone. it has satellite cover. so there are some enablers. the fact that he used the word enabler is very strategic. the u.s. can provide the platform for a sustained air
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cover over libya that the european countries simply do not have. it's not just the fighter jets. it's all of the support mechanisms, the u.s. has more aircraft carriers than the rest of the world combined. >> is this going to be one of those operations where it has the u.n. cover for the mission but essentially led by the u.s.? is that where we're headed at this point again? >> reporter: what i think we could be headed for is a very long operation where you have the rebels in the east in benghazi, gadhafi in tripoli and in the west to a degree, and the international community with the u.s. involved trying to level the playing field. and if you level the playing field in a country where the two sides are separated by six, 700 miles of open desert, you could have a situation where the u.s. is preventing massacres but allowing a low level civil war to take place that could go on
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for years. this involvement might not be quick, it might be a very, very long sustained operation more like we saw in the balkans. >> what happens if gadhafi's smart and he observes the u.n. rule, which is basically don't go after civilians and simply says, all right, i'm going to allow all sichs who want to leave benghazi to leave, i'm going to let you leave and have a sanitary card where they're allowed to leave with total safety and the chinese is coming in there. they can watch that. i'm going to be completely proper here but i'm going after the rebels. what stops him from doing just that? i'm going after my rebels in my country? you have not given any mandate to stop that. >> well, i think you were on the phone with gadhafi's strategist. that is exactly what his strategy is going to be. a few minutes ago as i was preparing for this live shot,
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the deputy foreign minister of libya was on television saying that he wants international monitors to come in. they are urgently calling for people from around the world to come, not only to tripoli but across libya to see what is actually happening on the ground and that if there is an armed conflict, that the libyan government has the right to defend itself, that if it it is attacked and there are combatants and this is not just a democratic movement of students, the rebels do have weapons. they're not very advanced but they do have weapons and under any kind of international chart ker, government does have the right to defend itself. that strategy of perhaps opening a humanitarian corridor but certainly calling for international observers to say we're not just killing civilians, we are fighting armed militants and the world is open to see that, that's what libya's next step is and a step it is already calling for. >> the libyan deputy foreign
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minister has put out a word "crimes against humanity have been committed by the rebels." is he trying to get the world opinion to modify it sef or to give him some leeway to go after the rebels? >> reporter: he certainly is. he was talking about how the rebels have been desecrating the bodies of people that they have been capturing. the rebels have been taking prisoners. i've seen prisoners from gadhafi's forces captured by the rebels. and he's trying to get the world to see that gadhafi is not just crushing a bunch of unarmed student protesters like has been the case in egypt, like was the case in yemen today. he's trying to show that this is an armed insurrection and any country in the world has the right to defend against an armed insurrection. there is civil war that happened in the united states when the north didn't want the south to break away, the u.s. fought to keep the union. and that is what gadhafi is
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trying to convince the world it is doing fighting a legitimate civil war. >> can you detect a conflict between the secretaries of state and defense? a few days ago it seems the secretary of defense laid out the role we shall not get in a war in the middle east again. you'd have to have your head examined to do it. here we are basically leading it looks like a u.n. effort to go into another arab country. perhaps not on the ground but we're going in by air with everything we've got it looks like. is there a conflict in doctrine between hillary clinton the secretary of state and bob gates? >> i really am not privy to the conversations that they've been having among themselves. but there does seem to be a clear contradiction if you don't want to get involved in a war and then declaring yourselves to be involved in al international no-fly zone. there seems to be also a conflict of morality.
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. the u.s. doesn't want to sit back idly by and allow a massacre to happen. the u.s. has experience with gadhafi and knows what the regime in libya is capable of doing without international action and without specifically u.s. action. the president said tonight that there is every reason to believe that without international action or at least the threat of action, that gadhafi would carry out atrocities against his people. that is certainly what the people of benghazi do believe and i think the u.s. and the president felt this moral obligation to at least use the threat of force and probably back it up if those atrocities take place, but not to aunch a ground war to go in and remove gadhafi themselves. that's why i think this could be a very protracted conflict with the u.s. providing this kind of balancing act to keep the two sides fighting a fair conflict and a fair conflict in libya, we have the rebels in benghazi and
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gadhafi in tripoli and the armed forces at least put on the shelf could take a very long time. >> thank you. great reporting as always. richard engel in cairo tonight. up next, what will this u.n. resolution against libya mean for news are we going to take the lead in libya? how much of this is going to be an american war? that's a big question as we go into the weekend. we'll try to answer it in the next few minutes. you're watching "hardball" only on msbc. facial cleanser from neutrogena® naturals. developed with dermatologists... it's clinically proven to remove 99% of dirt and toxins and purify pores. and with natural willowbark it contains no dyes, parabens or harsh sulfates. dirt and toxins do a vanishing act and my skin feels pure and healthy. [ female announcer ] new purifying facial cleanser from the new line of neutrogena naturals. [ female announcer ] new purifying facial cleanser what can you do with plain mashed potatoes? when you pour chunky beef
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>> the efforts by the international community to come together to make clear to colonel gadhafi that he cannot continue his violence against his own people. he cannot continue to attack those who started out by peacefully demonstrating for changes that are within the right of any human being.
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>> well, there you have it. secretary of state hillary clinton. that was her, secretary of state clinton, today and that's the question now. what's next. ed walker is a former deputy representative to the united nations and former ambassador to israel, egypt and the united arab emirates and mark thompson. mr. ambassador, i read the united states through our president reading a very particular u.n. resolution. we're going in with no-fly zone and some other efforts to protect civilians. then i also hear the secretary of state with a very firm voice saying we're going africa daf if i. the president also allows that. are we going in to enforce a u.n. resolution or to topple gadhafi piece by piece? >> maybe she feels he will not pay attention to the resolution. >> does the president have the same anticipation? >> i would expect so. >> in other words, what we're doing is starting at first base, heading for a home run, we want to go all around the bases.
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we'll start with in resolution. here's my question. if gadhafi is as smart as he might be, he's saying i'll not go after citizens, you can't go beyond me beyond the resolution. i'll survive. what happens if he does that. >> he can't survive if he acts like that. he's got still maintain that image of being all powerful. otherwise he loses. he's got a whole group of people ready to come after him if he -- he's made a lot of enemies. so i don't think he can afford to look weak or to back down in the face of international pressure. >> here's more of secretary clinton today on the cease fire. let's watch. >> we've seen press reports of a cease-fire by the libyan government. this is a fluid and dynamic situation. we are going to be not responsive or impressed by words. we would have to see actions on
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the ground. and that is not yet at all clear. >> that's the look of hillary clinton. commander in chief. didn't you get a sense she was president. i'm not knocking it. didn't she look strong? she looks like she knows what she's doing. she doesn't want gadhafi there five more minutes. the president is working at a balancing act. which doesn't have as much stir to it. she seems to know what she's doing. she's much more hawkish, a couple of notches. >> she made clear today she didn't know where this is going to end up. the president on march 3rd said he must go. the president did not say that today. >> he's already said it. why say it again? >> well, with the backing of the united nations you would like to have the clout behind him. >> he's acting as if he's ignoring the very nature of the u.n. resolution. >> they don't have the egypt or saudi arabia on their side in this effort, they don't have the u.s. congress behind them. the military people i'm talking to are very leery of this
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mission. >> they're arming the rebels. >> they are but that's different than doing this no-fly zone. >> here's my question. in the arab world and you've covered it, are the young people sitting in the calf phase of damascus and cairo and rooting for us to whack this guy or end uprooting for their fellow arab against the west? >> no, they're rooting for us right now. >> explain. >> it's a different generation. they're not the generation of their fathers. gadhafi represents the generation of their fathers and the 50-year-old -- the 70-year-old leaders of the arab world. they want new change. they want a new generation coming in to take over. >> thank you guys for covering all the bases. ed walker and mime thompson. up next, from the crisis in libya to the crisis in japan. u.s. officials now say the nuclear crisis in japan is worse than three mile island. it's a category five. an we'll get to the latest in the effort to avoid a melt down. you're watching "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." jan has raised its rating of that nuclear disaster to a level five on a seven-point scale and a former member of the nuclear regulatory commission from this country said the crisis surpassed three mile island. there it is on that grid. time is running out as workers feverishly race to prevent a full-blown meltdown and a nuclear chain reaction. more on the desperate situation. let's turn to mike it will freedlander, a former senior nuclear power plant operator and david albright, president of the institute for science and international security. well, mike, let's go to this whole question. what does it mean to go to five? >> well, probably the more relevant point is what does it mean to be similar to three mile island. the bottom line is we have a situation where the nuclear
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complex has been compromised as a result of a station blackout. the reactors have very limited cooling for some period of time and released some form of their nuclear radioactivity. and the issue that makes this similar to three mile island is the style of reactor. the thing that makes it more complex is the fact that we don't have one reactor that's affected here. we have four plus the very large -- >> and what's your worry now that it's reached five? does that mean it's going to probably keep heading upward in terms of who arer? >> well, chris, the real core issue, no pun intended to get out of this is getting power restored to the facility. i just saw some reports here this morning that tepco has been able to run in some power lines from a neighboring electric utility and getting power restored to those facilities is crucial to getting us out of the woods here. >> does that mean the pumps will
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work? >> get things stabilized. once we get power restored things will cover quickly. >> are you confident that the power restored would mean the pumps activated? >> well, remember, the safety systems that are in the power plants are designed to withstand the seismic event. i'm quite hopeful -- and they have redundant multiple safety systems within each facility. i'm relatively confident once they start recovering the systems in a systemic fashion, that they should be able to cobble together a series of pieces of equipment that will enable them to get out of this. >> let me go back to david. let me ask you about the question where this -- are we looking at basically years and years of dead zone in japan around these facilities no matter where it goes from now? there's going to be areas of that country you can't safely live in or work in? >> hopefully not. most of the radiation went out
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to sea. there's been sith releases but most of the time the radiation was going out to sea. the site itself is probably going to have to be carefully monitoreds. some of the reactors may have to be entombed. >> surrounded by concrete? >> concrete, yeah, but the area, it's really -- there isn't a lot of information on the amount of cesium in the environment. that will be cun one of the key karats on how much land is actually contaminated. >> translate this into people's normal worries. the reason people are watching these programs about this all over the country right now on every network is because they think it's an object lesson in the use of nuclear technology and they worry that even the nents japan will somehow have an influence on the people there and also on the people there. >> radiation causes dread and people are worried about getting cancer or owe are other illnesses. >> should they be? >> they should be but not in
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this case in the united states. the risk is very low. >> how about over there? >> over there it's a different story. they didn't evacuate as many people as the u.s. representeded. the dose rates i've been looking at for a couple days, i think the united states made the right decision. >> 50 miles and that 19 wasn't good enough. >> you should be careful. definitely be careful with this. one of the reasons you're also careful is the people will be assured, they'll have higher an insurance that they're not going to face a rick later. >> we're getting word right now that the japanese government has gotten to the point of overcoming its pride and sense of self-reliance for which the japanese are famous in asking for help from the outside. what was that about? just looking at this codely, was there a failure on their part to see what they couldn't do and what they needed help to do? >> we've got to remember that outside of the nuclear complex itself, they were dealing with a cattaraugus of lively cal pro pouring. this would have overwhelmed virtually any organization in the world, i believe.
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and i certainly there's no doubt that i think on a going forward basis, we have recognize that in a catastrophe like this, everybody globally should rise to their needs and certainly they should have asked for help earlier. >> that's hab for now. up next, your business. "hab" fo. up next, your business. h for no. up next, your business. a for no. up next, your business. r for no. up next, your business. everyone has someone to go heart healthy for. who's your someone? campbell's healthy request can help. low cholesterol, zero grams trans fat,
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Hardball Weekend
MSNBC March 19, 2011 5:00am-5:30am EDT

News/Business. The best of 'Hardball With Chris Matthews.' New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY U.s. 19, Gadhafi 18, U.n. 12, Libya 11, Clinton 4, Tripoli 4, United States 4, Us 3, Campbell 2, Engel 2, Neutrogena Naturals 2, Cairo 2, Egypt 2, Benghazi 2, United Nations 2, Thompson 1, Mike 1, United 1, Moammar Gadhafi 1, Roc Multi-correxion 1
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